To support our mission of “changing the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all,” the Women & Hi Tech Board of Directors elected to attend the 2-day diversity workshop entitled Interrupting Racism for Our Children (IRFOC) by unanimous vote. Collectively, the Women & Hi Tech Board, along with some Emeritus members, fully engaged in the IRFOC training facilitated by Jill English and her team at Child Advocates. Needless to say, the IRFOC training workshop was challenging, informative, uncomfortable, and moving.
The IRFOC training encouraged us to take a hard introspective look at the racial messages and beliefs that are in our “groundwater” from each of our personal upbringings, and how they affect our communication and/or miscommunication, interactions or lack of interactions, with others across racial lines. It also empowered us with knowledge to begin to further research the historical and systemic inequities that have pervaded every institution in this country from their inception, including our healthcare, educational, judicial/criminal justice, and financial institutions – where we currently see some of the most disparate outcomes amongst racial groups.
In addition, the IRFOC training provided a foundational platform for Women & Hi Tech to begin to analyze and/or update our own policies and procedures to ensure that the opportunities, support, and benefits provided by this organization to the Indiana STEM community at large over the past 20 years are equally available in the future to all Hoosier women despite race, color, creed, or other diverse characteristics. Most importantly, the IRFOC training reiterated the Board’s mission and focus on driving “Equity and Inclusion” not just in STEM, not just in Indianapolis or even Indiana, but in each of our daily lives.
We were made a better Board, better community citizens, and simply better people by having attended and engaged in the Interrupting Racism for Our Children diversity training. It is our hope that the benefits of having done so will be felt and seen by our organization and our community for years to come. Women & Hi Tech proudly accepts our responsibility to truly and properly contribute to our overall human solidarity.